Would You Want to Know Your Therapist Has Lupus?

I struggle with this one since so often I have to cancel people out because I’m flaring.  I advise them that I have a chronic medical condition which unfortunately knocks me out. But I think it also sends the message to patients that my needs are more important than theirs. People are really great about it, but it bothers me that I cannot offer the consistency and dependability people need when they go to therapy. 

For example, I was flaring last week and told people I’d be calling them today, Sunday, to hopefully reschedule tomorrow. Well as it turns out I now have a cold and still need to stay at home.  It sounds so…flaky… and the STRESS of the uncertainty only makes me feel worse .  One thing about lupus is you need to really baby your body when anything comes on because your immune system cannot  defend the body against invading viruses, bacteria, etc.

Therapists are trained to only self disclose for the benefit of the patient.  I’m thinking that if they knew exactly what the medical condition is, they would understand why I have to frequently cancel and the uncertainty of when I can reschedule. But I’m not sure if I’m considering telling them for my benefit, so they won’t think badly of me, or theirs, so they won’t feel blown off and therefore feel badly about themselves. And then I’m afraid that if they understand the seriousness of my condition, it might scare them off…

So I’d really appreciate your input on this, especially if you’ve ever been a therapy patient. Would you want to know its lupus? How do you think this would make you feel? How might you respond?  Or is that way too much information?  Do you think the “chronic medical condition” is enough of an explanation?

Thanks for any help you can offer me here.

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11 Responses to “Would You Want to Know Your Therapist Has Lupus?”

  1. The Belated Eloquence of the Inarticulate Says:

    I see a psychiatrist, and I think it would depend on how close your relationship is with your patients, individually. Decide if the particular patient has seen you consistently enough that if you shared your illness, he or she would continue to see you. If the patient is on the newer side, I think you should wait to share your illness because that could express exactly what you don’t want to communicate (that your needs are more important than those of the patient).

  2. psychscribe Says:

    Thank you Belated Eloquence of the Inarticulate – your opinion is kind of how I’ve been leaning myself. I appreciate your input, and welcome you to my blog. I hope you’ll visit again. Warmly, Psychscribe

  3. psychscribe Says:

    PS – and you are hardly inarticulate 🙂

  4. ridmeofmyself Says:

    personally, as an individual who has been in therapy for a number of years… i would want to know if my therapist felt comfortable enough to confide in me… it just takes the vague mystery out of it all… especially if it will continue to affect appointment schedules for the foreseeable future. i do agree with Belated concerning disclosing to newer patients… but as for well established clients, perhaps it would relieve the guessing games, guilt, and stress on both ends…

    best
    ellie

  5. psychscribe Says:

    Thanks Ellie, I appreciate that. And thank you for stopping by my blog.

  6. Woman in mid-thirties Says:

    I guess it depends both on the patient and the approach. Generally, I’d say “chronic medical condition” is enough. Have ever you watched House MD, the series? There’s doctor who suffers from Huntington’s disease; she already disclosed it to a patient, but it’s not what she usually does.

    And yes, I’m a therapist, too, but my work is focused on career counselling.

    Best wishes (I want to come back here later to read past posts – and new ones, too, surely!).

  7. mssc54 Says:

    I see a Therapist once a month. I’ve been seeing him for… about 19 or 20 months.

    I think if he were to cancle on me more than once I would want to know the reason. If I found out that it was medical related I’m pretty sure I could empathize with him.

    What kind of nut would think their Therapist is unprofessional for being human?!

    Also, I may also (eventually) figure out that the world doesn’t actually revolve around me and that other people have bigger challenges. Maybe.

  8. psychscribe Says:

    Thanks mssc54 – I think so too. But my question is, would you want to know what the specific medical problem is? I’ve been asked that and have been evasive, telling clients that I don’t like to get specific because I don’t want them to worry about me..but as I write that, how silly! The unknown would probably make them worry even more! But also, lupus is a pretty serious medical condition….

  9. mssc54 Says:

    Perhaps those who want to know specifics are most concerned that your illness be of a physical state than a mental. 🙂

    If it were me I would just thank them for their genuine concern and further explain that your illness is of a physical nature and that your mental faculties are 100%. “So there is no problem helping my clients with their concerns.” 😉

  10. lupusranting Says:

    The interesting thing about having lupus is when you tell someone you have it, you really aren’t divulging much information because it’s such a broad based disease! I don’t think it’s necessary to give out detailed information, but with clients that you trust, and given the appropriate circumstance, it may be helpful to share your lupus story.

  11. SanityFound Says:

    Psych I am going to be straight with you here – If my therapist was sick I would want to know what it is rather than just the guise of Chronic Illness. Reason being is that the more information I have the less I will feel that it might be an excuse because you dont like me – that sadly is and was part of my package, negative thought biases go rampant on that one. As I said though that is just me personally.

    If you were my therapist and you told me that you had Lupus I would take courage from your courage and admire you for your strength in telling me. Because you risked it and told me what is wrong with you I’d feel more open in sharing with you. Another one of my little nicky nacky things.

    Overall though Psych, on a different note. I want you to know that I am proud of you and am honoured to be your friend. I take strength from your courage and hope in humanity through knowing you are the person you are, and I love you for it.

    You are one super incredible humans!

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